Parmelan is one of the must-sees of Haute-Savoie. Visible from the surroundings of Annecy, its imposing cliffs dominate and make it a panoramic viewpoint that will amaze any hiker. The ascent by the Grand Montoir is delicate, with passages exposed to heights on a narrow and steep path. Although entirely secured by chains and ramps, the passage can scare people with a fear of heights; I thus advise the use of a cord.
The route I propose describes a loop which descends smoothly through the Petit Montoir; In case of doubt, do not hesitate to ascend by this road.
The plateau of Parmelan is very sculpted by erosion as chasms and fissures form the lapiaz.
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Altitude: 1,832 m
- Ascent: 2 hours 00 min via the Grand Montoir
- Descent: 2 hours 00 min via the Petit Montoir
- Elevation Gain: 750 meters
- Round-trip: 9.0 km
- Map: IGN 3430 OT
The car park is located 14 km north-east of Annecy. Take the N203 road and then the direction of Villaz. At the exit of Villaz, turn left following “Le Parmelan” and continue until the terminus of the forest road.
GPS Coordinates (WGS 84) of the Starting Point: 45.952219, 6.222312
On the right of the parking lot, the path gets into the forest and becomes quite steep very quickly. Follow the direction of Chalet Chappuis reached in 20 minutes and already offering a beautiful view of Lake Annecy and Dents de Lanfon. Turn left to reach the junction with the road coming from La Blonnière, and continue to the left. After a good walk, the trail gives the right to admire Parmelan’s cliffs and runs down to the bifurcation of the Petit Montoir where you take a right towards the Grand Montoir. By entering the Grand Montoir, vigilance is in order: the pathway, although secure, is still difficult.
The ascent is magnificent in the middle of the cliff on this very narrow track with passages exposed to the heights. The panorama is beautiful and makes the difficulty disappear. After this quick climb, you emerge on the plateau and take notice of the path coming from the Petit Montoir that you will take for the descent. A final short climb reaches the Chalet of C.A.F Camille Dunant (Phone +33 4 50 27 29 45). The cross of Parmelan is very close on the right. The particularity of this site remains the very friendly Alpine choughs: you sit down on the stones next to the cliff, and, after two or three reconnaissance flights, some will land near the hikers until they unpack the snack.
Take the same road described above up to the junction of the path on the right in the direction of the Petit Montoir.
The descent, although longer, remains much easier, and the scenery changes completely; The pines and limestone blocks evoke hiking landscapes much further south. The trail runs through the chasms and crevices of the rock to Chalet Chappuis where you can buy exquisite goat cheeses.
Photos of the Parmelan
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